Expression of biologically active heterodimeric bovine follicle-stimulating hormone in milk of transgenic mice

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Oct 1;88(19):8327-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.88.19.8327.


Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH; follitropin) is a pituitary glycoprotein composed of two post-translationally modified subunits, which must properly assemble to be biologically active. FSH has been difficult to purify and to obtain in quantities sufficient for detailed biochemical studies. We have targeted FSH expression to the mammary gland of transgenic mice by using cDNAs encoding the bovine alpha and FSH beta subunits and a modified rat beta-casein gene-based expression system. Lines of bigenic mice expressing both subunits have been generated either by coinjection of the subunit transgenes or by mating mice that acquired and expressed transgenes encoding an individual subunit. Up to 60 international units (15 micrograms) of biologically active FSH per ml was detected in the milk of the bigenic mice. These lines provide a model system for studying the post-transcriptional mechanisms that effect the expression and secretion of this heterodimeric hormone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Caseins / genetics
  • Cattle
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Lactation
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Milk / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides / chemistry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • Caseins
  • Oligonucleotides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone
  • DNA